You already know I love book lists. Reference 101 Best Picture Books and 101 Best Chapter Books and 101 Best Christmas Books and 28 Best Moon Books and 10 Best Princess Books and 10 Best Books on Grief and 10 Best Books on the Death of a Pet. I could go on, but I'll be done for now.
I also like St. Patrick's Day. I don't know what it is about the holiday, but I find it fun and whimsical and interesting even though I'm not the least bit Irish. Well, maybe a little bit on my mother's side, but it's minimal at best.
I like leprechauns especially because they're mischievous pranksters with secret riches. Who wouldn't want a couple of those?
Anyway, I collected up some of the best St. Patrick's Day books for kids because I think kids like leprechauns and St. Patrick's Day as much as I do (or maybe more because Lucky the Leprechaun, right?).
If you're looking for some things to do, check out this post on 18+ St. Patrick's Day traditions to start with your family. There are some really good ones in there.
37 Best St. Patrick's Day Books to Read to Your Kids
- A Berry Lucky St. Patrick's Day (Strawberry Shortcake) – I normally wouldn't include character books in a book list, but this one is pretty good. It's about Strawberry Shortcake and her friends as they find a “berry” lucky four-leaf clover.
- Brave Margaret: An Irish Adventure – This traditional Irish story dates back to 1893. In the beginning, the girl does run off with a handsome prince, but that's where the expected ends. She gets kidnapped and has all kinds of adventures – that include saving the handsome prince's life at the end. It's a great girl power story and rich with detail and interesting plot twists.
- Buster's St. Patrick's Day – It's about a cat, so what more do you need to know? It's a cute story about a cast of pets who try to make a float for their owner for the annual St. Patrick's Day parade.
- Hooray for St. Patrick's Day – This Lift-the-Flap book shows kids doing a variety of activities on St. Patrick's Day, from crafts to marching in a parade.
- Fin M'Coul and The Giant of Knockmany Hill – This is an adorable book written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola. It's not about St. Patrick's Day specifically, but it is distinctly Irish and that makes it perfect for this time of year. It's the story of a man and his wife, and the wife ends up saving the day in the end. Perfect tale in my opinion!
- A Fine St. Patrick's Day – Every year, the towns of Tralee and Tralah compete to see who can come up with the best St. Patrick's Day decorations. Tralah always wins, but this year, a little girl from Tralee has an idea for how to win. The townspeople are eager to help her, but a stranger comes to town who needs help. The people of Tralah are too busy with their decorations to help, but the people of Tralee put down their paint brushes to come to his aid.
- Fiona's Luck – This is another feel good girl power story about a little girl who lives in Ireland. The greedy leprechaun king has stolen all the luck from all the people in the country, and he's locked it away. Fiona finds it and restores it to the people. This is a retelling of a traditional folk story.
- Green Shamrocks – This is a cute little story about some animals. The rabbit grows shamrocks to wear to the St. Patrick's Day parade, but the pot goes missing and everyone has to search for it to try to find it before the big day.
- Happy St. Patrick's Day Curious George – This is a cute little story aimed at the smaller set. In it, George dresses up in his finest green garb and heads out to the St. Patrick's Day parade. Of course, mischief follows him. Overall, it's a nice introduction to the holiday and its symbols, written in rhymes and with a nice cadence.
- The Irish Cinderella – In this interesting tale, Cinderella is a boy named Becan. The basics of the story are the same – widower father, wicked stepmother, hard labor. But then Becan runs away from home, slays a dragon, and rescues a princess. Before she can thank him, he runs away, leaving one of his extra large boots behind. She sets out to find the boy with the too big feet.
- Jack and the Leprechaun – This story introduces Irish folklore and stories through the adventures of Jack Mouse and his cousin, Sean. Jack learns about leprechauns from Sean, and he is determined to find one.
- Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato – I knew I would love this book as soon as I saw it. First, it is written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola whom I love. Second, it a traditional Irish folk tale about a farmer who is so lazy that his wife has to raise and cook the food for their family. Third, there's a leprechaun. Did I mention Tomie dePaola?
- The Leprechaun in the Basement – Michael's dad is out of work, and there is not enough money for baseball shoes. And then he finds a leprechaun – and a pot of gold – in his basement. But the leprechaun isn't all that he seems, and Michael learns a valuable lesson.
- The Leprechaun Trap: A Family Tradition for St. Patrick's Day – If you have a Lucky the Leprechaun at your house, this is the perfect book. It introduces the idea of a leprechaun who makes mischief around the house on St. Patrick's Day. It would be a great gift paired with a stuffed leprechaun, to do Elf on the Shelf type magic with.
- The Leprechaun Under the Bed – I like this clever story about Brian O'Shea, a leprechaun who is trying to protect his home from another who's trying to build his house on top of Brian's. Nothing he tries works, and Sean's front door ends up right under Brian's bed. Brian has no choice but to accept Sean and try to make the best of a bad situation, and that alliance comes in handy when danger strikes.
- The Leprechaun Who Lost His Rainbow – This story is about Roy G. Biv who is a leprechaun who's lost his rainbow. Colleen is a little girl whose grandfather plays the bagpipes and offers to help Roy. She gives up a lot to help him, but even she has her limits.
- The Leprechaun's Gold – This story is a retelling of a traditional Irish folktale. In it, kind Old Pat and mean Young Tom are both harpists who set out to discover the best harpist in Ireland. When Young Tom discovers that Old Pat is a better musician than he is, Tom devises a plan to fool Pat. But then a mischievous leprechaun gets involved.
- A Leprechaun's St. Patrick's Day – This silly book is all about a band of leprechauns who make mischief all over the land. Your kids will love all their tricks.
- Leprechauns Never Lie – Lazy Ninny Nanny and Gram decide to catch a leprechaun and steal his pot of gold to remedy their money woes. They do find one, but he sets them out to complete all kinds of chores in an effort to find his treasure. It's an interesting story with a great lesson.
- The Luckiest St. Patrick's Day Ever – This is a cute book about a St. Patrick's Day parade. It's written in rhyming verse and pretty basic, so would be best for the under 4 crowd. Nonetheless, it's really cute and has a lot of rich details about Ireland and Irish culture.
- Lucky O'Leprechaun – I like this one because our magical leprechaun is also named Lucky. This story is about two kids who, with the help of their three elderly grand-aunties, set out to catch a leprechaun and make him tell them his secrets.
- Lucky Tucker – This is a cute little story about a terrier who was having a very bad day until he rolled in a patch of lucky 4-leaf clovers. That turned the whole day around and he had lots of good luck.
- Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Top o' the Clubhouse – This is the only other character book on my list. It's about the normal cast of characters preparing for a St. Patrick's Day celebration when Pete turns up with his normal shenanigans. Fans of the tv show will love it, and even non-tv viewers who know Mickey and pals will like it.
- My Lucky Day – While not specifically about Ireland or St. Patrick's Day, this fable is about being lucky and so fits nicely with the rest of the tales listed. It's about Mr. Fox who is delighted when a piggy shows up at his door. He intends to eat the pig for supper, but the pig tricks him into a spa treatment, a tasty dinner, and letting her go before the day is out. It turns out not to have been Mr. Fox's lucky day after all.
- The Night Before St. Patrick's Day – This is a cute story written in the same style as The Night Before Christmas. It's about an Irish American family who celebrates St. Patrick's Day by setting out leprechaun traps, playing bagpipes, and eating green eggs. The siblings are genuinely nice to each other and cooperate to trick the leprechaun they caught – but end up being the ones getting the trick.
- O'Sullivan Stew – In this story, bold, brassy Kate O'Sullivan sets out to save the day, but she ends up getting herself and her whole family in trouble with the king. She then has to get them out of that mess. It's a very clever and funny story that everyone in your family will enjoy.
- Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland – This is another great from Tomie dePaola, written about the real life of St. Patrick himself, including his capture and enslavement in Ireland as well as his escape and eventual return to the Emerald Isle.
- S is for Shamrock: An Ireland Alphabet – This is an alphabet book that is definitely not for babies. It includes the history, religion, mythology, and science of Ireland and Irish culture. The text is written in poem form, and then there's a long sidebar on each page with background and explanation. I think older kids would definitely enjoy this one if they're interested in Ireland at all.
- St. Patrick's Day – This is the true story (as far as anyone knows it) of the real St. Patrick. It's definitely non-fiction, not a story at all, but it is written in a way that explains the holiday and its significant symbols without boring kids.
- St. Patrick's Day Alphabet – This is an alphabet book, but it's not for babies. It tells the real story of the holiday with all its cultural significance, and it just so happens to do this through the letters of the alphabet. But with entries such as bodhran and Yeats, no one will mistake this for a baby book.
- St. Patrick's Day in the Morning – This is a storybook about a little boy named Jamie whose family says he is too young to march in the annual St. Patrick's Day parade. Of course, he takes matters into his own hands and shows them that he is capable. Illustrated by the incomparable Jan Brett.
- The Story of the Leprechaun – This story is about a leprechaun and shoemaker who hides his gold away in a safe place. One day, a greedy man tries to take it, and the leprechaun has to protect his treasure by outsmarting the human.
- The Story of St. Patrick – This one is a religious historical non-fiction book about the life of St. Patrick starting when he was a small boy. It's an inspirational story about God's great plan and how one man can achieve great things through His help.
- The Story of St. Patrick's Day – This cute board book tells the actual story of St. Patrick himself, together with the Christian significance of the holiday. Older kids might find it a little babyish, but it has great details that will teach them good information.
- That's What Leprechauns Do – This is a cute story about three leprechauns with a job to do (hide their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow) but who can't resist a little mischief. They paint cows' toes red, tie the laundry in knots, and hide a tennis ball in a chicken's nest. It's all in good fun and has a lot of silly humor that little kids will love.
- Tim O'Toole and the Wee Folk – This is a retelling of an old story about Tim and his wife who have neither a penny nor a potato between them. His luck changes when he finds a band of Wee Folk who grant him wishes and gifts, but through his own unfortunate actions, he squanders them away. It's a really interesting story with nuances that kids of different ages will appreciate.
- Too Many Leprechauns, Or How That Pot o'Gold Got to the End of the Rainbow – This is a wry story about a trickster named Finn who notices that something is amiss in his town. He quickly discovers that it has something to do with the leprechauns who make a lot of noise making shoes for the fairies at night. The story goes on with Finn and the leprechauns battling each other with tricks and capers.
So that's all the St. Patrick's Day books I could find. I'm excited to get my hands on a few (and ordered them from Amazon while I was writing this post!), but the one I'm most looking forward to is Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato. I love Tomie dePaola and met him when I was in the fourth grade. His books are always so clever and interesting and well illustrated.
What are your favorite St. Patrick's Day books?
© 2018, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.